This game (“Shoulders” in the remaining text) is a VERY short game, so this postmortem will be short too. I entered it under a pseudonym (Ilmur Eggert).
The idea for this game was inspired by the romantic comedy movie “Kate & Leopold”, where Leopold, who invented a primitive elevator in 1876, travels forward in time to “our” present. As a consequence, all elevator shafts in the present are empty, since the elevator was never invented.
I then got this idea, that Isaac Newton would experience something similar and the consequences would be even greater. “Shoulders” is supposed to be a comedy, though without any real puns. I was hoping that the plot and situations were funny even without puns. If I could have come up with some bulletproof puns, I would certainly have included them, but I am not so confident with writing comedy so I didn’t. It wasn’t obvious to everyone, that this was a comedy, which is probably one of “Shoulders”’ weakest points. Once people think it should be taken seriously, they will start to focus on plot holes etc., which I believe will always be present in a time travel story where the future can be changed by changing the past. Some stories may hide it very well though.
Another weak point of this game is its length. I liked the idea I had, but I hadn’t really thought up some puzzles when I started working on it. In the end, the game turned out to be VERY short. At least one reviewer saw this as a missed opportunity, and I guess he is right. Still, it is my impression that a fraction of the IF community like short games too. Thus I decided to enter the IFComp with this.
It is of course perfectly fair, that even those who liked this game, won’t rate it very high in a competition like this, where most games are a lot longer. One reviewer said he completed “Shoulders” in less than 10 minutes. Of course, a two-hour-long game should be given some credit for being entertaining for a much longer time and thus I am quite sure it won’t get very high placement. But if only a few enjoyed it, that is fine with me.
“Implications” of the plot: Though the plot was never supposed to be taken very seriously, it is perfectly fair to discuss the plot. I am aware of the many illogical holes in the plot. I was actually thinking that it might be funny that the story doesn’t really make sense. As someone pointed out, the story casts Newton in a poor light. That’s true depending on how you look at it. Perhaps Newton felt an obligation to fix the future and so he kept the origin of the book a secret. We never know how far Newton would have come without the book. Perhaps the future was ruined the minute the old witch planned to send Newton to the future without guarantee of his safe return. The game doesn’t answer these questions. And I don’t try to, as I am sure there will be a lot of inconsistencies anyway. Still, comments on the plot (or anything else) are very welcome.